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Greenfield: The "You Didn't Do That" Society
Sultan Knish blog ^ | Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 05/29/2014 5:07:48 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The "You Didn't Do That" Society

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

First Elliot Rodger murdered his three roommates with a knife, hammer and machete. Then he shot eight people, three of them fatally, and tried to run over several others in his car.

After the bodies were taken away, everyone on television agreed that it was the fault of the guns.

Rodger had been in therapy since he was eight and was seeing therapists every day in high school. He had a history of making violent threats and the police had already gotten involved. He was on multiple prescription medications and had therapists whom he alerted to his plans by sending them his manifesto.

A therapist reacted by notifying his mother who drove out personally. By then even more people were dead.

In a country where a little boy with a pop tart chewed in the shape of a gun triggers immediate action, the professionals who cashed in on the killer’s wealthy family were in no hurry to call the police. One even reassured his mother while the shootings were going on that it wasn’t him.

So it was clearly the fault of the guns. Guns that Elliot Rodger bought with $5,000 from his family. The BMW he used to commit some of the attacks was given to him by his mother.

Jenni Rodger, his British aunt, blamed America and guns for her nephew's massacre. "What kind of a society allows this? How can this be allowed to happen? I want to appeal to Americans to do something about this horrific problem."

Somehow the parenting failure of her brother is now the fault of an entire foreign country.

Rodger's father issued a statement through his lawyer in support of gun control and "staunchly against guns." It might have been a bit more useful if Peter Rodger, instead of opposing a category of manual instruments, had spent more time dealing with his son's problems.

Guns did not kill six people. His son did.

Maybe Elliot Rodger's family would not have been able to change anything, but it's likely that they could have at least prevented the massacre if they had become more involved instead of delegating the problem that their son had become to therapists and medications. It's the height of cynicism for his father and aunt to take refuge in abstractions about gun control.

When a teenager stabbed twenty people at a Pittsburgh-area high school there were no easy answers about gun control to take refuge in. If Rodger had stuck to his knife, hammer and machete, his relatives who coddled him all these years wouldn't be able to shift the blame to an abstract policy. They wouldn't be able to politicize the crime and snip their own involvement out of the picture.

Elliot Rodger's parents, communicating through a lawyer and a talent agent, find it convenient to put up another layer of abstraction between themselves and the actions of their son. And the easiest way to do that is to transform it into a widespread social problem. The more that the smiling people on television talk about gun control, the less likely they are to talk about them.

Even mental illness reduces a specific crime to the abstraction of a social problem. Expanding an individual act into a social problem manufactures a collective responsibility. The scapegoats are people who had nothing to do with what happened. The killer's family has successfully shifted responsibility to people who live a thousand miles away and never even knew their son existed.

Guns have become a convenient cliche. The new villain is no longer the killer, but the 5 million members of the NRA who are unwilling to give up their constitutional rights because Elliot Rodger's family failed at their single most important job.

Why is a gun owner in North Carolina more responsible for the Isla Vista killings than Peter Rodger? Does Peter Rodger’s staunch opposition to guns free him from responsibility while dumping it on the majority of Americans who believe in the Bill of Rights?

Elliot Rodger was not a social problem. He was not a gun culture. He was not a national anything. He was an individual and individuals bear responsibility for their own actions.

The left is expert at removing responsibility from individuals and assigning it to the culture at large. Every murder is a failure of society. And society fails every murderer, they insist. We are all murderers because we own guns or didn't vote for the right politicians who would have allocated more money to mental health treatment, school counseling or midnight basketball.

And outlawed guns.

The "You didn't build that" society is also the "You didn't do that" society. The flip side of Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama's collectivist rhetoric is that just as no one invents the airplane, creates a company or writes the Great American Novel on their own, no one kills six people on their own. If you killed six people, it's because of the Second Amendment. If you wanted to kill sorority girls, it's because of Seth Rogen movies. If you're a half-Asian who beat and stabbed your Asian roommates to death, it's because of white (or half-white) supremacism.

No one does anything good or bad on their own. The good that men do gets taxed away for the purported benefit of society and the evil that they do is blamed on society.

In a collectivist system, everyone is responsible for everything collectively and not responsible for anything individually. Everyone but the killer is responsible for his shooting spree. And that means no one is responsible. The problem is tackled with public awareness hashtags and legislation that hurts millions of people who didn't do anything wrong.

America's gun owners, like its machete and hammer owners, did not kill anyone. Every day the vast majority of gun owners somehow manage to get through the day without a killing spree. Their tools don't have minds of their own. The gun culture that liberals talk about does not sneak in through their windows at night and urge them to shoot up the neighborhood.

Elliot Rodger did not kill because he had guns. He bought guns because he wanted to kill. And he wasn't very good at it, wounding more people than he killed. Like many on the left he believed that guns would make him invincible. They didn't. And it was the same good guys with guns the left sneers at who put a stop to his killing spree.

We aren't rethinking the First Amendment because of Rodger's YouTube videos and manifesto. Why are we supposed to rethink the Second Amendment every time some psycho includes guns in his killing spree? The problem was not with Rodger's computer, his smartphone, his hammer, his machete or his handguns. They were only the tools that he used. The problem was with him.

The solution to horrifying crimes is not collective guilt, but individual responsibility. Instead of transforming individual acts into a social problem, we should instead remind ourselves that the keystone of morality is individual responsibility. Collectives are not moral. Individuals are.

People don't kill because there is a gun shop around the corner. They kill because they make a choice.

Elliot Rodger's family doesn't want to deal with their own choices. Elliot Rodger certainly did not want to deal with his. However if we want a moral society, we won't get there by pretending that choice doesn't exist. We won't get there by banning guns. We won't get there through abstractions.

A moral society recognizes the power and responsibility of individual choice. A better country doesn't begin with banning guns, but with holding accountable those who kill. Even while liberals were puffing out their chests over gun control, the Supreme Court's liberal justices stepped in to save Freddie Hall who kidnapped, raped and murdered a pregnant woman and shot a deputy.

That was in 1978. A decade earlier, he had gone to jail for raping another woman and gouging out her eyes so she wouldn't be able to identify him.

Like some of the other monsters on death row, Hall decided to plead retarded. His IQ scores dropped. After a long series of appeals, the Supreme Court finally decided that executing him would be unconstitutional.

"Florida’s law contravenes our Nation’s commitment to dignity and its duty to teach human decency as the mark of a civilized world," Justice Kennedy wrote, speaking for the majority. But America was at its best in dignity and decency when it held men, including monsters like Freddie Hall, accountable for their actions. Decency and civilization come from individual choices. Liberals like Kennedy reject individual choices and seek every possible pretext for protecting killers from their moral choices.

A society that makes excuses for monsters becomes an amoral cesspool where no one is responsible for anything because everyone is responsible for everything. Instead of offering collectivist excuses and implementing collectivist overreactions, we can restore dignity and decency by rejecting social problems and embracing individual responsibility.

Our choice is not between a safe society without guns and a dangerous society with guns. It is between a society of individual responsibility where everyone can be trusted to own a gun and a society of collectivist irresponsibles where no one can be trusted to own a gun.


TOPICS: Government; History; Politics; Religion
KEYWORDS: elliotrodger; greenfield; guncontrol; sultanknish

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Lou

1 posted on 05/29/2014 5:07:48 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell
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To: daisy mae for the usa; AdvisorB; wizardoz; free-in-nyc; Vendome; Georgia Girl 2; blaveda; ...

Liberal pap is vulgar and obscene. These immature children need to be shut up. They must be held responsible for their own stupidity. America was not built on blaming others for one's shortcomings. It was built on overcoming and achieving greatness in spite of shortcomings.

2 posted on 05/29/2014 5:11:37 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Louis Foxwell
Rodger's father issued a statement through his lawyer in support of gun control and "staunchly against guns." It might have been a bit more useful if Peter Rodger, instead of opposing a category of manual instruments, had spent more time dealing with his son's problems.

Guns did not kill six people. His son did.

3 posted on 05/29/2014 6:08:30 PM PDT by GOPJ (>The Mainstream Ministry of Information does not stand for liberty. Freeper Gene Eric)
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To: Louis Foxwell

Every time I read Daniel’s columns I think to myself “Wish I’d said that”.

We have a big honkin’ spiritual problem in America and in the world. Too many people have turned themselves over to Satan to the point where Romans 1:18-32 is being fulfilled before our eyes.

I can only control my own actions. This saved sinner will remain faithful to the end. I can only hope to influence those around me to do the same. I’m doing that - society can snuff itself.


4 posted on 05/29/2014 6:15:59 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
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To: Some Fat Guy in L.A.

This should be the guest editorial in every newspaper or webzine in the country.


5 posted on 05/29/2014 9:08:05 PM PDT by KC Burke (Gowdy for Supreme Court)
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To: Louis Foxwell

Affluenza!!

Ban wealth!!


6 posted on 05/29/2014 9:10:11 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Louis Foxwell
Brilliant column. Here is the case:

Expanding an individual act into a social problem manufactures a collective responsibility.

And the exposition:

The "You didn't build that" society is also the "You didn't do that" society. The flip side of Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama's collectivist rhetoric is that just as no one invents the airplane, creates a company or writes the Great American Novel on their own, no one kills six people on their own. If you killed six people, it's because of the Second Amendment. If you wanted to kill sorority girls, it's because of Seth Rogen movies. If you're a half-Asian who beat and stabbed your Asian roommates to death, it's because of white (or half-white) supremacism.

What we have in Rodger's manifesto is an unusually clear explanation of precisely why he did it, and none of those things comes to the fore. Given a provisional acceptance of its insane premises and a temporary suspension of disbelief, it's a perfectly rational document. And within it is an instance of precisely the sort of collectivist nonsense Greenfield has just pointed out.

He wasn't attacking any specific individual who had actually done him harm, he was attacking everyone because of their collective guilt - blonde women and men not because they were happy together but because they were capable of it, his roommates due to mere proximity and the fact that they were alive, random passersby because they were all of them equally guilty. Collectively guilty. It was not this weird propensity of the Left to collectivize guilt that killed those people, but it is that propensity that justifies it, that serves to dilute the guilt. He, the individual, the sick, frustrated, inadequate, creepy psychopath who planned to kill his loving little brother for no better reason than a suspicion that the boy was or might become more successful in his relationships than Rodgers, it was he who committed the crime.

7 posted on 05/29/2014 9:34:46 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Louis Foxwell

Another home run from Greenfield.


8 posted on 05/29/2014 11:58:54 PM PDT by ComputerGuy (BS, MS, PhD and a BMF besides)
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To: All; Billthedrill

YES!
To assign blame it is necessary to pinpoint and describe the precise influence that motivates killers. A theory of reality that explains every personal failure as the direct fault of social conditions does precisely this. The bizarre reality is that we cannot “fix” societies with the same ease that we can “fix” individuals.
Not that repairing the broken nature of a psychopath is simple. It is, however, doable. Trying to assign blame to society and fix whatever is deemed to cause pathologies is not doable. Blaming categories, however, allows progressives to establish authority over large swaths of society. This does nothing, of course, to stop pathological murderers. In point of fact it manufactures more of them by giving them full justification for acting out. This is the key to unlocking the tyranny of progressive thought.
By looking for external causes to Roger’s actions he is given full justification and made into a perverse hero. By this reasoning those who stopped him are guilty of the crime of restricting the free actions of a justified homocidal maniac.
The solution to all of this is quite simple. Stop the insanity! Abandon progressivism/liberalism/socialism.


9 posted on 05/30/2014 5:41:17 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Louis Foxwell

“Even mental illness reduces a specific crime to the abstraction of a social problem. Expanding an individual act into a social problem manufactures a collective responsibility. The scapegoats are people who had nothing to do with what happened. The killer’s family has successfully shifted responsibility to people who live a thousand miles away and never even knew their son existed.”

A time honored strategy, that. If you can’t win an argument/battle then change the subject or the terms of combat. The Left is very skilled at this when it comes to internal matters where the ultimate goal is to always deprive Americans of their civil liberties and wealth. OTOH, Obama goes nose-to-nose with the Russians over the Ukraine when he can’t win. What he needs to be doing is using the Russian move to rally Europe, and eastern Europe in particular. But he won’t do this because he can’t buy a clue when it comes to foreign policy.


10 posted on 05/30/2014 7:01:23 AM PDT by Tallguy
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To: Louis Foxwell; marktwain
The new villain is no longer the killer, but the 5 million members of the NRA who are unwilling to give up their constitutional rights because Elliot Rodger's family failed at their single most important job.
11 posted on 05/30/2014 8:39:21 AM PDT by GOPJ (>The Mainstream Ministry of Information does not stand for liberty. Freeper Gene Eric)
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